Northern Electric 5000 "Rainbow" Radio (1946)

This charming little Bakelite set is one of the most popular and recognizable Canadian radios. It is pictured on page 244 of Mark Stein's book, Machine Age to Jet Age.

The nickname "Rainbow" derives from its distinctive rainbow-shaped grille design. Northern Electric had another idea for the name, however. A decal on the back of the radio identifies it as the "Baby Champ."

The ivory paint on this radio is in good original condition, with only a few tiny scratches and a small wear mark over the volume control. The Rainbow was also offered in plain brown Bakelite and other paint colors. The dial pointer is reminiscent of an airplane propellor, appropriate for a Machine Age design of this type.

My service literature shows a model 5000-1 in addition to this one. Both models were manufactured during 1946-1947. Their electronics are identical except for the placement of a couple of trimmer capacitors. This model covers only the standard broadcast band. I have seen a Rainbow set that covered shortwave frequencies, too, but I don't remember that model number.

Inside the unusual cabinet is a conventional "All American Five" chassis, with 12SA7, 12SK7, 12SQ7, 35L6GT, and 35Z5GT tubes. Restoring the electronics was a simple matter, involving cleaning the controls and replacing the old paper capacitors.

If you live in Canada or one of the northern US states, keep your eyes open for this radio. It must have been a big seller in its time. There seem to be a lot in circulation.

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